Knock Out director Mani Shankar was not willing to comply with Irrfan Khan's insistent requests that he be allowed to do his own share of action to look on a par with the film's leonine action hero Sanjay Dutt.
In fact, Irrfan wanted to go further. He wanted to kill the villain in the climax of Knock Out. A thought that exasperated and amused Sanjay Dutt and the director Mani Shankar since Irrfan's character didn't fit the role of the avenging macho man.
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Says a source, "Irrfan had reservations about his role from the start. When he expressed these reservations to the director Mani Shankar, Mani made it clear that no changes would be made. Irrfan plays an investment banker. How could he turn into a fighter beating up goons and shooting down villains in a true filmy hero style? Mani has made a political thriller set in real time. The action and drama last for exactly two hours, from 11.30 am to 1.30 pm."
Disregarding his banker's role, Irrfan wanted to throw his punches, a la Dutt. The director tried every ploy to dissuade Irrfan. Finally, Sanjay Dutt had to step in to stop Irrfan's flights of fancy.
Director Mani Shankar is reluctant to talk on the subject.
Says Mani, "I'm really not allowed to give out anything. Irrfan has a fabulous role. Yes, initially he did have some reservations. But we sorted them out. Now he has his own space in the narrative, no doubt about it."